Frank Cosentino - Quarterback - 1960-66 - Western
One of the last Canadian quarterbacks to see significant playing time in the Canadian Football League
, Frank Cosentino
is long since retired, but far from inactive.
The author of 15 books, on topics ranging from football and hockey to the history of Almonte
, the Eganville resident is now working on his
third major book on the Canadian Football League
The book is due out in 2012, during the 100th anniversary of the CFL
It has been more than 40 years since Cosentino
retired from a CFL career that featured two Grey Cups with the Hamilton Tiger Cats.
But football has remained a fixture in his life, as a coach, historian and fan.
first played football in his
hometown of Hamilton, Ont., where he
had an inauspicious beginning in the sport, failing to make the first three teams he
tried out for.
wasn't dissuaded, especially when a growth spurt and successes as a baseball pitcher convinced others he
might have quarterback potential.
Looking back, Cosentino said someone needed to light a fire under him, and that person turned out to be Monsignor Wemple, the dean at the university's King's College.
Called into his
was told he
had eight weeks to get his
academic act in gear.
By second year he
earned a B average and was into business school, en route to a bachelor's degree with honours.
But life was getting complicated.
To pay his way through university, he worked with the Steel Company of Canada.
Then, in his
fourth year at Western, he
and high school sweetheart Sheila McHugh (whose parents Charlie and Gertrude are from the Renfrew area) were married.
At university, he
was holding his
own as a quarterback, helping Western to two Yates Cups as the Ontario university football champion, including 1959 when they beat UBC for the Canadian university title.
also emerged as the Hamilton Tiger Cats' first draft pick, and his
pro football career was underway.
emerged with Grey Cup rings, from Hamilton CFL titles in 1963 and 1965, when the team stars included defensive linemen John Barrow and Angelo Mosca, quarterbacks Bernie Faloney and Joe Zuger, and receiver Hal Patterson.
The Cats went 10-4 each of those regular seasons, before prevailing 21-10 over the B.C. Lions in 1963, then 22-16 over Winnipeg two seasons later.
In 1963, Cosentino
share during the regular season, but he
never really got off the bench in the playoffs, except to hold for extra points.
But Zuger polished his resume that day, throwing eight touchdown passes in a crushing defeat of Saskatchewan, before leaving Cosentino enough playing time to throw two TD passes of his own.
But Cosentino's best seasons, as an individual, weren't when Hamilton won the Grey Cup, but with the Edmonton Eskimos in 1967 and '68.
After winning less than half their games in 1967, the Esks finished 9-6-1 for third in the Western Conference as Cosentino
started 14 times and finished off the other two regular-season games.
The Esks then lost a one-sided semi-final to Saskatchewan.
In 1967 he
had one of his
best statistical performances ever, completing something like 21 of 25 passes in a close loss to the Ottawa Rough Riders.
The post-game coverage included a photo on the Globe & Mail's front page of Cosentino
hurdling a would-be tackler, as the caption referred to the former Tiger-Cat as Frankie Boy.
I knew my role," recalls Cosentino
"But I also had a reputation for coming in and scoring a few touchdowns."
CFL career, he
completed 513 of 1,083 passes for a completion percentage of 47.4.
also threw 48 TD passes and 73 interceptions.
best stats were in 1968 with the Esks when he
completed 169 of 330 passes for 2,809 yards.
Sixteen passes were for touchdowns.
was also active on the sidelines.
The same year he
second Grey Cup, in 1965, Cosentino
helped found the CFL Players Association
In Edmonton, Cosentino
says it was different and refreshing to be out of the local spotlight, after playing in his
Following one shutout loss, Cosentino
quipped to a reporter that he
didn't like losing, but that at least he
play-calling wasn't to blame.
was hauled into Armstrong's office and reprimanded.
That aside, throughout his
football career, Cosentino
Christian faith with him.
This included his
customary prayer, during national anthems, to commit to playing the best he
The third and last CFL team he
played for was the Toronto Argonauts.
While playing in Edmonton in 1967 and 1968, he worked on his master's degree in the history of sport.
was dealt to Toronto.
But first, he had the opportunity to accept a prestigious scholarship, retire from football, and finish his PhD at the University of Alberta.
elected to play one more season, with the Argos, before continuing his
It was a busy time, but Cosentino
says it was made easier with Sheila 'holding down the fort' at home with four kids.
In Toronto, Cosentino
joined other striking Argonauts, as they held out for training-camp pay.
"The spirit on the team was tremendous because all the players were where they wanted to be with the players they wanted to be with," says Cosentino
of the '69 season, his
last as a CFL player.
Tom Wilkinson was the starting QB, but Cosentino
still saw plenty of action.
says it was winning the 1971 Vanier Cup as head coach of the University of Western Ontario Mustangs
, in a nail-biting win over the University of Alberta
The Mustangs would also win another Canadian title in 1973, the year after he finished his doctoral degree with a thesis on the history of Canadian sport.
After retiring from the CFL, Cosentino stepped into his second major career, as a university teacher and coach.
He was an assistant professor of physical education and head football coach at the University of Western Ontario from 1970 to 1974, before becoming the physical education department head in 1975.
In 1976 he moved to York University where he was a professor and chairman of the department of physical education, recreation and athletics, and later named professor emeritus and senior scholar.
At York, he
was also convinced to return to coaching on two occasions, for another seven years of work on the sidelines.
Now retired, he's
enjoys playing tennis and golf, and his
But in becoming conditioned to handle that role, Cosentino
said, "I wasn't going to second guess what I did, or what anyone else did, not that you don't try to reshape it."
As a quarterback, he
saw himself mostly as an encourager.
"And we brought up our kids that way too," he
"Praise is a terrific way to bring out the best in people."
The Cosentinos' other children are Mary, Teresa and Peter, who has two World Series rings, from his
days as marketing vice-president for the Blue Jays
As a Hamiltonian, Cosentino
continues to enjoy watching the Tiger Cats.